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From Strine to Strain

A man's not a camel. I was as dry as a nun's nasty so I dingled a cobber on the blower to tee up a few coldies and a dog's eye at the rubbity. "No wukkers" says Bluey "I'm a bit crook but t'morrer's poets day so i don't need to get up at sparrers. I'll just duck in and bung on fresh grundies and some tidier strides and I'll c'ya in a mo'."

Blow me down if Bluey doesn't show up turned out like a pox doctor's clerk. "Bugger me Bluey" says Bazza the barman "what's a rooster like you up to?"

"Fancy me chances." says Bluey, who's a bit of a flash harry. "Any sorts about?"

"Nah...there's only a coupla old chooks out by the pokies. Flubbeters galore and heads like robber's dogs."

That had Bluey buggered so we settled in for a yarn and got to whinging about the state of our Aussie vernacular.


The sentiment in that fictional lead-in may be past its use-by date in these hyper-sensitive days of easy offence but its component vernacular is worth preserving. Is Aussie English dying out? Is a dimension to our national character endangered?

Invasive Americanisms (ass, cell phone, diaper, trash, zee) are spread like noxious weeds by social media; 140 character tweets constrain colourful phrasing; emojis displace actual words altogether and geekspeak and the horrors of corporatese are spreading like lexical lantana but are they killing our unique colloquialisms and the way we use them?

The good news is, not entirely. Aussie English is evolving but it's not in danger of extinction. A group of geezer colleagues of mine gather on a semi-regular basis to grump and argue and tie on the wobbly boot. Four are Jimmy Grants - 3 Poms and 1 Belgian. Yet none would have much trouble understanding that little introductory anecdote.

Australianisms have even spread beyond our borders - the ubiquitous 'selfie' for example is of Aussie origin and was the Oxford Dictionary's “Word of the Year” for 2013.


The term 'Strine' is an invention of the late Scotsman Afferbeck Lauder (Alistair Morrison) for his wonderful Let Stalk Strine written in 1965. Let Stalk Strine was more a phrasebook than a collection of Australian slang and colloquialisms. It set out, often hilariously, how broad Australian was spoken. I have quoted some of the best examples and provided a link at the bottom of this post as an homage to his humour.

Strine is Australian as it was spoken. Afferback Lauder ('Alphabetical Order' should you not have an ear for the dialect) did not write a glossary - he wrote a guide to appreciating the broad Aussie accent.

From Strine to Strain

The accent has changed since 1965. No longer Strines, we are now Strayans from Straya speaking Strain.

Strain is both a broad accent and a dialect. Strain is unaffected English as is commonly spoken by bogans (once known as ockers); the uncultured, flannied mullet-heads who typically, but not exclusively, inhabit Straya's less sophisticated fringes. But, not always. Any loud, big-noting, piss-head shiny bum from Mosman pulling big bikkies in the money markets is a cashed-up bogan - an Aussie take on the English Hoorah Henry.

A conversation in Strain between hard nut bogans will sound as if the speakers are suffering a severe case of Tourettes ("Fuck! The fuckin' fucker's fucked!") with expletives dominating the discussion, referencing the doubtful marital status of each participant's parents and with various alternative terms for genitalia and copulation in adjectival, noun and verb forms. This should not be mistaken for aggression, it can often be quite convivial.

Like its Strine predecessor, Strain can be celebrated but the accent can be like fingernails down a chalkboard when it migrates beyond its natural users. When professional speakers start saying "toime (time), moine (mine), loin (line) , liddle (little), Iddaly (a country on the Mediterranean) then it's not groit moit - it's time to protest in the strongest language possible - stoppid ya farn khans!

The Strain patois is more extensive, inventive and nuanced than just an accent and our addiction to abbreviations - arvo, servo, uey, uni etc.

Shortening of words is habitual and ingrained in native speakers since Kindy. It can go too far though:

"The D's are playing the 'Pies at the G": the Demons (Melbourne Football Club) are playing the Magpies (Collingwood) at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground).

FFS! When 'MCG' is abbreviated to 'the G' then we have gone too fuckin' far mate!

The vernacular of Strain extends beyond the broad-accented bogan hordes. It is egalitarian, used, or at least understood in everyday conversations across all demographics. It contains terms that are old and new. 'Ridgididge' is traditional, 'flubbeders' a recent invention. Strain has kept its inventiveness and colour but I do mourn the passing of much of the old-school terminology such as 'bushman's breakfast'.

As a reference, and for anyone needing assistance, a glossary follows. A few of these may be borrowed (e.g. dog & bone) but we've embraced them as our owm.


A bit more choke and you would have started: A response to someone's loud, vibrato opening of their lunch box.

A few: Several.

Acker Dacker: That timeless band of Aussie origin AC/DC.

Anchors: Brakes. Grab the anchors: Brake hard.

And no error: Added to the end of a sentence to emphasise its validity - "You're a real sport and no error".

Ankles: Throw-away nickname for someone who's lower than a c*nt.

Are you right? "Welcome to my emporium, may i be of assistance?"

Arse about: Back to front.

As flash as a rat with a gold tooth: A bit too flash, lairy.

Avago: Have a go, give it a burl.

B&S ball: Bachelors and spinsters in rural Australia gather together in country halls to tie on the wobbly boot and hope to pull a root.

Babyccino: Caffeine-free means of introducing billy lids to cafe culture. Mugaccino: over-enthusiastic embrace of the cafe culture.

Backblocks: Not quite as far as Woop Woop wherein lies the mythical township of Kickatinalong (sister city to NZ's Waikikamookau) . Also: Back-O-Bouke, beyond the black stump, off the beaten track, the never-never, back of beyond.

Back hander: A bribe. Also a smack across the dial, similar to a clip on the ear as delivered by one's mother for minor transgressions in the days before the exercise of such parental authority was criminalised.

Bag o' fruit: Suit (likely of Pommie origin).

Bail: Depart, up stumps.

Banky: (pejorative) Bankstowner, a westie (i.e. a non-local from land-locked suburbia) intruding on the territory of local surfies, aka a tourist.

Barker's nest: A dog turd. Not commonly seen anymore since a canine's human gofer now fulfills the role of a mandatory tag-along groom of the stool.

Barrack: Encourage, support

Barry Crocker: Shocker. "Wazza had a barry crocker - caught first ball."

Basket weaver (derogatory): Advocate of the simple life free from the rat race. Often "Balmain basket weaver" - inner-suburban trendy. A slur aimed by the conservative minded at latte sippers and chardonnay socialists.

Bastard: A good bloke. Mongrel bastard: Not a good bloke. Right bastard: Good or bad depending on context.

Battler: Someone struggling to make ends meet, residing on Struggle Street.

Bazza: Barry. Wazza: Warren. Chezza: Cheryl. Gazza: Gary etc.

Beer money: The discretionary spend allocated to the man of the house.

Bewdy: You (little) bewdy - you beauty. The postitive reinforcement of a desirable circumstance - "You bewdy, I just scored the meat tray at the rubbity raffle."

Big noter: Braggart, someone who's their own biggest fan; who's up themself.

Big unit: A gentleman of large dimensions.

Billy lid: Kid. A child.

Bin Chicken: Threskiornis moluccus, the Australian white ibis that has embraced city living. Strutting about, afraid of no-one. No overflowing litter bin or dumpster is safe from these marauding stand-over merchants.

Bindi-ballet: Bare foot tip-toe across a bindiied lawn. Bindii being a nefarious feral weed infesting many a suburban lawn with small but needle-sharp seeds.

Bit of shoosh: "Can we have a bit of shoosh?" - quieten down.

Bite the crotch off a low flying duck (I could): Ravenously hungry.

Bitzer: A dog of uncertain ancestry.

Blind Freddy: A figurative unperceptive person. Typically deployed in the phrase "even Blind Freddy could see that."

Blind mullet: Bondi cigar, a loaf. A number two.

Blow in: Non-native.

Blowie: Blow-fly (dunny budgie), the first sign of spring. "There's a big blowie circling the lounge room - get the Mortein wouldya."

Blower: Dog - dog and bone, telephone.

Bludger: A work-shy individual, an idler - from an earlier meaning of someone who lived off the earnings of a prostitute. Alternatively someone who puts the bite on others for money i.e. a cadger .

Blue: Dispute, stoush, vigorous disagreement ranging from an argument through to an all-in brawl. Alternatively - a mistake.

Bluey: A blue cattle dog or a red-headed man or a speeding ticket.

Blue-arsed fly: A figurative symbol of busyness. Alternatives: a one legged man in an arse kicking contest or a one-armed paper hanger.

Blue-rinse set (collective noun): Old chooks. Commonly found in bingo halls around the country.

Bodgie: Dodgy, of suspect worth or quality. Also from the early 1950s a "male youth, distinguished by conformity to certain fashions of dress and larrikin behaviour" whose female counterpart was a widgie.

Bogey hole: A naturally occurring swimming hole in a river or rock shelf

Boil the billy: Put the kettle on.

Bonza. Of a more than acceptable standard, also bewdy, grouse.

Bottler: Ripper, bewdy, bonza, corker.

Bottle-O: Retail liquor outlet, the primary source of slabs. An off-licence to the Poms.

Bowlo: Pronounced as bo-lo. Lawn bowling club.

Broody: Clucky.

Buckleys/Buckley's chance: No chance at all. "You've got two chances - none and Buckleys".

Budgie smugglers, sluggos, dick stickers, banana hammocks: Male swimwear of proportions that test the limits of obscene exposure. Togs, cossies are non-gender specific swimwear.

Bugger, buggered: One of the most versatile terms in the Aussie lexicon. It can be a noun (bloke, cove), verb (bugger off - depart), adjective (buggered - rooted, non-funtional). It can be an expletive, a term of endearment or the exact opposite. It takes an active practitioner of Strain to appreciate the subtleties and nuance of its deployment.

Buggerlugs/bugalugs/buggalugs: A term of endearment, similar to "mate" but usually used in a slightly more patronising tone and with less immediate masculine connotations.

Built like a chicken's instep: All prick and toenails. Skinny.

Bulldust: Pork(y) pies, fibs or exaggerations, inviting the response "pig's arse!"

Bung: Broken, non-functional.

Bung it on: Pretend- "I bunged on a dose of the collywobbles and took a sickie". A good example of that example is man flu.

Bung on: Put on - "I'll bung on a t-shirt", "bung a few more sossos on the barbie, we're running short".

Bunger, gasper, durry, dart: Cigarette. A bunger is also, a large, explosive firework - a big cracker. Back in the good old pre-nanny state days the billy lids would save their dosh to purchase bungers for cracker night.

Bunnings Onion: A slippery pitfall. A recent neologism I reckon will get popular traction :-)

Bunyip: Mythical inhabitant of billabongs and waterways. From indigenous mythology.

Bumper: Discarded cigarette end with some remaining tobacco recycled by those down on their luck.

Bush (the): Country Australia - the perimeters of which are a tad nebulous as city boundaries continue to expand. The country's land-locked capital city is the 'bush capital' but is not itself part of the bush. Or is it?

Bush bash: Vehicular off-road exploration.

Bush week: A figurative time, indicative of an attempt to deceive - "What do you think it is? Bush week?" Derived from when country folk from the bush visited the big smoke and were prey to city tricksters and conmen.

Bushie: Someone from the bush - a rural citizen. A Townie is from the bush but resides within the boundaries of a rural township.

Bushman's breakfast: No breakfast at all. Defined as "a piss and a good look round".

Butchers: Butcher's hook - crook (ill) or look (have a squizz) - also Captain Cook.

Cack ya daks: Figuratively, to shit yourself. Cackleberry: Hen's egg.

Cactus: Non-functioning. Not worth a brass razoo. Buggered. Knackered.

Calling Ralph on the big white telephone, liquid giggle, technicolour yawn, chunder, regurgitation, spreading burley, damaging the Doulton.

Cardonnay: A bogan's take on a popular white wine variety. If corrected to pronounce the "ch" the bogan may respond to the pedant by accusing them of being a "chunt".

Carked it: Died.

Catholic carrier. People mover.

Cattle dog: Brochureware listing products without which your life has no meaning.

Chalkie: A teacher. From the days of chalk and blackboards.

Chateau deCardboard: Cheap wine (plonk) in a bag-in-a-box, aka a Dapto briefcase.

Chew and spew: Dodgy take-away food or the retail premises that dispenses same.

Chewy on ya boot: (Chewy = chewing gum) Sledging aimed at a goal kicker in AFL adopted for wider heckling purposes.

China: China plate - mate. Cobber, pal.

Chockers: Full.

Choke a darky: Pass a blind mullet. Lay cable.

Cholesterol corner: A concentration of fast food outlets.

Chook: Chicken, hen. Barbied chook 'n' chips from the chew 'n' spew is a reliable standby when looking for a quick 'n' easy feed. Also, an "old chook" (always with the qualifier "old") is a human female of advanced years.

Clacker: Derived from cloaca. Date, ring, freckle, bumhole.

Cleanskin: Originally an unbranded animal, now also an unlabelled bottle of wine. Cleanskin wines are often a real bargain - sold at a cheap price and left unlabelled by the wine maker to off load excess stock without devaluing their brand.

Click: Twig to, realise, dawn upon. Also: kilometre (klick).

Cliner: Girlfriend (C.J.Dennis, The Sentimental Bloke).

Clobber: (noun) Clothes. Also (verb) assault.

Clucky: Broody.

Cockatoo: A lookout, e.g. keeps an eye out for the rozzers at a game of two-up.

Cobber: Mate, friend. Although it can be used when engaging with a complete stranger - "Oi, cobber, can I cadge a gasper?"

Cocky: Cockatoo. Cow cocky: Cattle farmer.

Cocky's joy: Golden Syrup. A treacly byproduct of sugar refining. Bonza on damper.

Coldie: A cold beer.

Come a gutser: Fail monumentally. Pronounced as one word - karmagutza. Alternatively - come a cropper.

Come the raw prawn: To pull someone's leg, or to seek to deceive.

Conshy: A conscientious person.

Cooee: Not within cooee. Out of earshot. Far way. Missed by a mile. Also - not within a bull's roar.

Coolgardie safe: A low-tech solution to keeping the flies and the heat from the lamb chops and beer.

Cop you later: See ya, 'ooroo, see ya round like a rissole, good-bye.

Couldn't run out of sight on a dark night: Slow. Ineffectual.

Cove: Bloke.

Crack a fat: Bone up, noting that 'bone up' also means to study - "Better bone up on your algebra, there's an exam next week".

Crack the whip: Urge on threateningly.

Crack the shits: to lose one's temper, to blow a pfoofer valve.

Cracker: (Noun, adjective) Something of an excellent standard. (Noun) An explosive firework.

Crook: Sick, ill.

Crook as Rookwood: Really sick.

Cunning kick: Money kept aside from your pay so the missus can't get her hands on it. That may sound sexist but it should be acknowledged that a woman's income is all hers whereas a man's income is also hers.

Cup of chino: An espresso-based coffee drink prepared with double espresso and steamed milk foam as ordered by bogans.

Cuppa: Cup of tea. A cuppa, a Bex, and a good lie down: A panacea for the over-wrought.

Cut lunch commando : Army reservist.

Cuts (the): Corporal punishment administered to the hand of a schoolboy miscreant by a teacher. It was reserved almost universally for boys. The limit was six. Three per hand. Six of the best.

Dag: Someone unsophisticated in dress and/or manner. From the cling-ons around a sheep's arse. "Arse nugget" - as David Collins, one half of the duo The Umbilical Brothers, once referred to former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Rattle ya dags: Get a move on.

Daks: Trousers. Trakky daks: Tracksuit pants. Dak (verb) - to de-trouser someone.

Dark: A bit dark - a tad miffed, upset. Not quite to the level of being pissed off.

Dead horse: Tomato sauce. Traditionally applied to dogs eyes.

Democracy sausage: Consumed on a slice of bread with a squirt of dead horse at polling booths during elections; used as a fund raiser.

Derro and Povvo: I hesitated including these two terms due to their nasty condescension. A derro (derelict) is a homeless person, a povvo is a poverty-stricken person. These terms say more about the user than the target.

Dial: Face.

Digger: Fellow True Blue, cobber. More accurately a digger is someone who has served in the army.

Ding dong: A blue.

Dingled: Telephoned.

Ding: Noun or verb - dent. I dinged the car in a prang. Don't ding my car if you borrow it.

Dingo: In proper usage it's the native dog of Australia. "Native" being a relative term given dingoes are the only placental animals in marsupial Australia. They were likely introduced from Asia through pre-European contact. Also - a cowardly, deceitful person.

Dinkum/Fair Dinkum: True, honest, genuine.

Dinky-di: True blue.

Dirty: Shirty.

Dish licker: Greyhound.

Do the Harold (Holt): Bolt, scarper, depart with haste.

Do your block: Spit the dummy, chuck a tanty, go off like a frog in a sock, crack the shits, have a hizzy fit.

Dob: Inform on. One of the most egregious of transgressions. An Oz version of the English verb "grass".

Docket: A bill/invoice. Alternatively a schedule - "Acker Dacker's on the docket at the Pavlova, Wazza!"

Dodgey. Suspect. Testing the limits of acceptability or legality.

Dog's breakfast: Mess.

Dog's eye: Mystery bag, meat pie. Mystery bag can also mean a snag (sausage).

Done like a (dog's) dinner: Comprehensively defeated.

Dong: Strike, hit.

Donga: Temporary workers' accommodation.

Donger: Nudger, the gristle missile.

Donk: Car or motorcycle engine.

Doof doof: The loud repetitive bass from a fully sick car's sound system with no discernible rhythm or tune.

Doovalackey: Thingamajig.

Dosh: Moolah, money.

Double pluggers: The most ubiquitous and egalitarian of footwear in the great land of Oz are thongs. Flip-flops to less-urbane foreigners. Double pluggers are top-shelf thongs, having 2 plugs on the foot straps where they plug into the sole for extra robustness.

Dressed up like a pox doctor's clerk: Bedecked in one's finest.

Drink with the flies: Solo intake of alcohol.

Drongos, galahs: Mugs, nongs, no hopers, boof heads, dipsticks, pelicans. Couldn't find his bum with a bell on it.

Drover: Stockman - a wrangler of cattle, horses or sheep.

Drover's dog: A benchmark for low performance.

Dry as a nun's nasty: Seriously thirsty.

Duck's nuts (the): Much the same as bonza, perhaps a smidgeon above that high standard.

Duds: Strides, trousers. Alternatively - failures, fizzers.

Duffer: Cattle rustler. Silly duffer - goog, nong.

Dunny budgie: A blowie (blowfly).

Ear-basher: Someone who can talk under wet cement.

Eggshell blonde: Bald.

Emu parade: Picking up litter, typically as a punishment. To a shoolboy this is as demeaning and onerous as breaking rocks on a chain gang.

Exxy: Expensive, over-priced.

Face ache: Someone inclined to a miserable disposition.

Fart arsing about: Faffing.

Feral: Someone who's gone off the grid.

FFS: Fer Fugg's Ache. "What now?"

Figjam: An exclamation of success at the completion of a difficult task (Fuck I'm Good Just Ask Me). Also a derogatory nickname for a big-noter.

Fill your boots: Be my guest. Knock yourself out.

Fit as a Mallee bull: Full of vigour and vitality.

Fizzer: A let down, a disappointment, an event failing to live up to expectations such as an unexploding firework. In the halcyon days of cracker night the billy lids would be up early to collect all the fizzers to tap for gunpowder with which to improvise our own weaponry.

Flange: Female pink bits. Frothing at the flange: Up for it.

Flanny: Flannelette shirt normally worn with Uggies and a mullet. The flanny has been misappropriated from bogans by hipsters as irony.

Flash Harry: Of English origin from the St Trinians film series.

Flash: Fancy, lairy.

Flat chat: at full speed, busy.

Flash the frightener: Expose one's nudger.

Flubbeters: Tuckshop lady arms.

Fossiker: Prospector. To fossick is to search - "I fossicked through the drawer for my sock that'd gone walkabout."

Franger: Love glove.

Freckle: the fundamental orifice.

Fremantle doctor: Afternoon cool sea breeze as experienced in mid-summer Fremantle.

Frosties: See Coldie. Not to be confused with Fosters. Any Aussie seen consuming a Fosters would be subject to taunting and accusations of being fresh off the boat. Fosters is for export to Pommies who don't know any better having being brought up on warm ales.

Fred Nerks, Joe Bloggs, Joe Blow: Generic reference to noone in particular. Female version is Mrs Magillacuddy.

From arsehole to breakfast. Comprehensive.

Frothy chop: Glass of beer.

Fuck me dead: "Goodness me! I didn't expect that." Holy Dooley is a more polite alternative.

Fucknuckle: Idiot, drongo, galah.

Fuggly: Fuckin' ugly. A face like a dropped pie/half-sucked mango/twisted sandshoe. A bush pig.

Full as a centipede's sock drawer: There's no more space. Alternatively: pissed, blotto, under the affluence on inkahol.

Full as a bush tick: Chockers - had more than a sufficient intake of tucker.

Fully sick: A contribution from our younger immigrants of middle-eastern origins - meaning excellent. Typically applied to a cheap hatchback with a loud exhaust and a sound system that cost more than the car. The traditional Aussie term is schmick.

Gab: Talk, discuss inconsequential issues. Yabber is meaningless gab.

Geek (verb): To sticky-beak, to have a squizz at.

Get a big black one up yer: Variously "I suspect you may be misleading me", "Please depart and engage in sexual congress with a quadruped."

Get off at Redfern: Strategic withdrawal of the love muscle.

Ginger minge: Female pubis with red short & curlies.

Give birth to a sales manager/foreman etc: See a man about a dog, go for a number two.

Give it a burl: Take a chance.

Go off like a frog in a sock: Over-react.

Go the clappers: The highest rate of velocity (flat chat) or a full effort is required.

Goat boat (derogatory): Surf ski.

Gob: Mouth (noun), To eat (verb).

Gobby: Phlegm ball. Or head job / knob polish.

Goin' off: Losing one's temper. Also, exceeding expectations as in the tempo of a party is goin' off if it increases beyond expected norms.

Gone troppo: Lost control of one's ability to cogently process one's thoughts. Gone ga ga.

Gone walkabout: Voluntarily missing. If applied to an inanimate object it means that that object can't be found. One sock commonly goes walkabout when the washing is being sorted.

Good oil: Reliable and therefore welcome information.

Good on the tooth: Has a fondness for tucker, bordering on being a garbage guts.

Goog: A chicken egg. Also, a silly person. A temporary state, whereas drongoism is genetic.

Goon: Cheap plonk (wine) packaged in a bag in a box - a Dapto suitase.

Goose: Drongo, galah. Gosfords. Very short skirt - it's just below the entrance. The Entrance being a town on the NSW central coast near Gosford.

Green Room (surfing) : The inside of the tube of a wave; a barrel.

Grinning like a shot fox : Smug.

Grommet: Young surfer. Would not be seen dead on a fossil stick (longboard).

Grouse: The quality of positiveness applied as an adjective to almost anything. We had a grouse day at the beach. Have to admit that that new hipster beer is pretty grouse.

Growler: Growl and grunt- the tunnel of love. The bearded clam.

Grundies/Reg grundies: Undies/underpants, jocks.

Guvvie: Government supplied home for housos.

Half a mongrel: A state halfway between full tumescence (cracked a fat) and flaccidity.

Happy little Vegemite: An upbeat, cheerful individual.

Hard done by: Treated unfairly.

Hard word: To put the hard word on someone is to seek money (also "putting the bite on") or sexual favours.

Harry's: Harry's Cafe DeWheels pie cart in Wooloomooloo, Sydney.

Hazzitgarn?: How are you? (How's it going?)

Head like a robber's dog/half-sucked mango/warped sandshoe: Fuggly.

Headlights on high beam: Descriptive of a chesty woman.

Hide the sausage: Give the ferret a run.

Hiding: Corporal punishment in the days preceding it's abolition as an acceptable punishment for children. If used in an adult:adult context then a hiding is a comprehensive defeat (physically or virtually).

Hit the turps: Overindulge in spiritous and fermented liquors

Hoik: Throw, chuck, toss. "Hoik ya swag in the ute, Bluey."

Hoon: Young, over-enthusiastic driver. Typically accompanied by doof doof. A rev head/petrol head.

Hornbag: (Good) sort.

Horse's doovers: Hors d'œuvres. "None of that poncy French muck for me, I'm havin' some of these dinkum horse's doovers."

Hughie: The great rain god.

In like Flynn: Enthusiastically participate in an opportunity.

In a tick. Soon.

Interrogating the prisoner, badgering the witness, choking the chicken, playing the pink oboe. Self-abuse.

Japanese safety boots: Thongs i.e. flip flops.

Jatz crackers: Knackers, balls, testicles. Bollocks. No, it's true i tells ya!

Jimmy Dancer: Cancer.

Jimmy Grant: Immigrant.

Joe Blake: Snake.

Joe Blow: A figurative person; the Aussie everyman.

Joggers, runners: Footwear for the ambulatorily ambitious.

Jumbuck: A sheep.

Ken oath: Fukkin' oath - "only too true, my friend."

Kill a brown dog (would): Potent.

Knackered: Exhausted (person. A shot duck), worn out or broken (machinery).

Knee trembler: Wristy, hand shandy, hand job.

Knock off: Finish work. Alternatively - a cheap replica.

Knock off its horns and wipe its arse: "I'll have my steak extremely rare please."

Knockabout: (Noun) an easygoing cove. Knock about with: to keep company with others.

Lady Godiver: Fiver, five pounds.

Lammo: Lamington. A cube of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and coconut.

Leg-over: get a leg-over, pull a root.

Let it through to the keeper. To not respond.

Like a mad woman's breakfast: All over the shop.

Lips 'n' arseholes: The contents of a mystery bag (see Dog's eye).

Lipstick on the dipstick: Evidence of fellatio (knob polish).

Lock it in Eddie. Confirmed.

Lofty: A common nickname for a tall man. Stumpy: Another common nickname for a tall man.

Long kneck: 750ml bottle of beer vs a 375ml stubbie. Stubbies are also short shorts.

Long paddock: Country roadside where cattle are grazed in the long dry preceding the inevitable big wet.

Looker: Attractive person, a spunk. Should be used by heterosexual males only in reference to females lest they be accused of being a poofter.

Lyin' doggo: Keeping quiet after pulling your head in.

Mad as a meat-axe/cut snake: Not fully in possession of one's mental faculties.

Map of Tassie: Map of Tasmania. The hairy triangular female pubic area, hence also the furry triangle.

Martin Place: Moniker for someone who's a bit too fond of the frothy chop. As full as Martin Place every lunch time.

Mate’s rates: A discount.

Me 'n' you: Menu. Wherein you can often find the perennial favourite Chicken Pyjamas (parmigiana).

Meat and 2 veg: Male genitals.

Mexican: A citizen of the state of Victoria.

Mole: Woman of questionable morals (ceiling inspector, town bike, bangs like a dunny door). Probably a derivative of moll. Can be used affectionately ala 'bastard'.

More arse than class: Lucky not talented.

More front than Myers/Grace Bros: Audacious.

Motza: Lotsa/lots of - typically of money.

Mouth like the bottom of a cocky's cage: Dry as a nun's nasty. Alternatively - foul-mouthed, as in "do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"

Muffin top: Love handles, those fleshy folds that spill over the waist of one's trakky daks.

Mug: Face. Also an easily duped individual - e.g. a mug punter.

Mug lair: A show off.

Munted: Pissed as. Pissed means drunk, not angry.

Muster: To gather. "Muster the troops - the boss wants a word." Traditionally applied to herding cattle.

Nah, yeah, nah: Nah.

Nature strip: The roadside grass and shrubbery of urban Oz.

Nellie Melba: To do a Nellie Melba is to continue to re-appear after having ostensibly retired.

Noah: Noah's ark, shark.

No hoper. A useless individual, a lost cause, an oxygen thief.

No wukkers: No wukking furries - no fucking worries. No dramas.

Noggin, puddin, scone: Head. "I got donged on the noggin by a low hangin' branch."

Nong: Drongo, galah, boofhead, dill.

Not happy Jan: A gender-neutral reference to dissatisfaction with someone's actions.

Not here to fuck spiders - get down to business, no mucking about.

Not playing for sheep stations. It's not that important.

Not too far: Far.

Nuddy (in the): Naked, nude. Nudey-rudey: In the nuddy at an inappropriate place or time.

Nudger: Love muscle, the man in the pink polo neck, pork sword, donger, prong, frightener, tossle, dong, slug, knob, todger, one-eyed trouser snake, gristle missile.

Nudie run: Generally a quick dash, starkers, to retrieve something - "I did a nudie run to the Hills Hoist to grab some grundies."

Nugget: A chance discovery of value. A nickname for a short, stocky cove.

Nut, nutted: "I saw Tony Abbott and I'd had half a skinful and I wanted to nut the cunt." A bloke called Astro Funknukl Labe after head-butting our drongo ex-PM. Onya Astro!

Occy strap: Octopus strap, a length of elasticised rubber with metal hooks on either end designed to remove eye-balls and appendixes - and also for tying down luggage. These, a roll of duct tape and a can of WD40 are to be found in every bush mechanic's kit.

Offsider: Assistant.

Onya: Well done old chum! A contraction of "good on you!"

'Ooroo: Goodbye.

Open the lunchbox: To pass wind with a noisome result. To let fluffy off the chain.

Owyagarn: A greeting in the form of a rhetorical questioning of one's current mood and well-being. No answer is expected, nor indeed appreciated, beyond a succinct positivity such as 'yeah mate, good". Even if you're at death's door. Pronounced variously as "Owyagoan" or "Airgun".

Pash rash: Facial friction burns from a round of tonsil tennis.

Pavlova: Horden Pavilion, Sydney Showground.

Pelican, goose, galah: A dill described in avian terminology.

Piece of piss: Readily accomplished. The opposite of pushing shit uphill with a pointy stick.

Plumber's crack: The informality of tradies expressed sartorially.

Poets day: Friday (Piss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday).

Pokies: Poker machines, one-armed bandits. A mechanised, government sponsored means of extracting money from those who can least afford to lose it.

Pom: Pommy - an Englishman/woman. Not a 'Brit' as Scotsmen are Jocks or Jimmies, Irishmen are Micks or Paddies and the Welsh are unfathomable. Adjective - Pommie.

Port: A suitcase - portmanteau.

Prang: Bingle. An accident, typically vehicular.

Puddin: Head, noggin. Also a dill, dimwit, goog.

Pull one’s head in: Withdraw from an argument.

Pull a swiftie: Trick, con.

Push: Gang of larrikins.

Put the bite on: Cadge, ask for money.

Put the boot/slipper in: A figurative coup de gras.

Quid: Pre-decimal currency of £1 ($2.00). Not the full quid - not the brightest bulb in the light shop, nor the sharpest axe in the shed, their toast isn't buttered all the way to the edge. A dullard.

Rack off: Fuck off.

Rafferty's rules: Anything goes.

Ranga, Bluey: Ginger, red-head vs Snow(y): Blonde.

Red Sea pedestrian: Someone of the Jewish faith.

Reg Grundies: BVDs, jocks, undies.

Ridgididge: The genuine article.

Righto, righteo: OK.

Ring in. Unqualified substitute.

Ringer: The gun shearer in a shearing shed.

Ripper, rip snorter: Excellent, grouse, a pearler.

Rissole: RSL Club. "I'm off to the Rissole for a shandy."

Roo bar/bull bar: Impact protection if mounted on the front of a country ute. Penis substitute if affixed to the front of a Toorak tractor.

Rooster: A well dressed, good lookin' fella. A swell.

Root: (noun) sexual congress, a naughty, a leg-over. Verb: give the ferret a run, hide the sausage, release the snake in the long grass.

Root the hair on a barbershop floor: Aroused.

Rort: Noun - a dodgy practice. Verb - to engage in a suspect practice.

Rouse: Verb. To rouse on someone is to rebuke them. Typically in a parent/child scenario. It's a step that preceded a hiding if the rousing was not taken seriously.

Rozzers, wallopers: "Fair dinkum ossifer, I'm jober as a sudge."

Rubbity: Rubbitydub, pub.

Rug up: Dress in your warmest rig.

Sanger: Sandwich. Sosso sangers at Bunnings are becoming an entrenched cultural phenomenon.

Schnitty: Australia's embrace of Viennese cuisine. Accompanied by chips as a perennial favourite on the menus of bowlos, Rissoles and country rubbities.

Scorcher: A very hot day, or an event that exceeds normal limits.

Scrap: A blue, a fight or argument (sometimes scrape is used). Also - discarded material, typically from some sort of manufacturing or construction.

Seppo, Septic: American. Septic tank - Yank, Yankee (northern or southern, we don't give a fuck).

Settle petal: Calm down Precious.

Shag on a rock (like a): Figuratively isolated.

Shandy: Half beer, half lemonade. Consumed by sheilas.

Shank's pony: The motive force of pedestrianism.

Shark bait: Someone learning to surf.

She’ll be right (future tense): Bob's your uncle (present tense). All is well or under control.

Sheila: Woman. When applied to a male it's derogatory, equivalent to the "girly man" sledge of Arnie Schwarzenegger.

Shirty: Sniffy, miffed, displeased, narky, not happy Jan.

Shit-kicker: A menial, a drudge, a gofer.

Shits me to tears/shits me up the wall: very annoying.

Shot through (like a Bondi tram): Departed expeditiously. Did the Harold.

Shout: Purchase a round of drinks.

Shrapnel: Coinage (see what i did there?), small change. Typically used by the older demographic when paying for a purchase at the head of an impatient queue.

Sidies: Side levers, lice ladders, sideburns.

Skiddie: Skid mark. Trace evidence of a blind mullet.

Skip/Skippy: A native-born Australian of Anglo origins.

Skiver: Bludger.

Slab: A cardboard carton containing 24 cans of lager.

Sludge bucket/Sludgemobile: Mostly, but not exclusively, Yank Tanks, and typically equipped as sludge-o-matics.

Sludge-o-matic: Car equipped with an automatic gear box, typically limited to 2 or 3 speeds. "Davo bought a sludge-o-matic yank tank. It drinks like a fish and handles like a shopping trolley. Bloody Seppos wouldn't know a decent car if it parked on their foot."

Snag: Variously a sausage, a glitch or a hidden hazard in a waterway

Snookered: Ran out of options.

Snot block: A national delicacy of vanilla custard between two pastry wafers with passionfruit icing.

So windy it'd blow a sailor off your sister.

Sook: A whinger.

Sort/Good sort/Spunk: A looker - usually but not exclusively female.

Spare me days: Blimey!

Sparrers: Sparrow's fart. Prior to sunrise. StupidO'Clock.

Sparrer's guts: Asparagus.

Spit the dummy, chuck the toys out of the cot. Chuck a wobbly. Have a hissy fit. Crack the shits. Do ya lolly.

Splash the boots, unbutton the mutton: Pass water.

Spray (noun, verb): Abuse.

Sport: Alternative to 'mate'. Good sport: A fair minded individual who's square an' all.

Squatocracy: The landed gentry, hereditary cow cockies, bunyip aristocracy vs the absentee Pitt Street Farmers whose connection with the countryside is limited to a remote commercial investment typically for tax purposes.

Standout like dog's balls: Something obvious.

Stiffy: A rigid todger.

Stink eye: A dirty look.

Stoked: Well pleased.

Stone the crows: Blimey!

Stoush: A blue, a barney. A vigorous argument or a punch up.

Straight to the pool room: Said of an item of special interest that merits display.

Strides: Trousers.

Stunned mullet (a face like a): A surprised expression.

Swag: Transportable possessions particularly sleeping kit - a matilda.

Swaggie: Swagman. An itinerant, eulogised in our defacto national anthem Waltzing Matilda.

Tasmanian tuxedo: An unpretentious and practical means of staying warm and dry in our southern-most state, it's a puffer jacket.

Tell your story walkin': Don't let the door hit you on the arse on your way out. On ya bike. Here's ya hat, what's ya hurry.

Telling it to the judge, bobbing for apples, tongue-o-war: cunnilingus.

Three dog night: Inspiration for the band name, it was aboriginal lore that on a freezing night they'd curl up with three dogs to keep warm.

Tide's out. Your shout.

Tinny: A can of beer or an aluminium run-about with oars and/or an outboard motor.

Toey: On edge, antsy. Not to be confused with Towie - a tow-truck driver.

Too right. An affirmation - "Are we gunna watch the footie this arvo?" "Too right!"

Toorak tractor: A large, 4-wheel drive vehicle that will never see an unsealed road.

Toot: Lav, dunny, thunderbox, throne, bog, twinkle palace, long drop.

Tradies: Chippies and sparkies and brickies; someone "on the tools".

Tradies breakfast: A sausage roll, a doughnut and a can of Coke purchased from a servo.

Trots (the): Diahorrea (the squirts). Possibly derived from the hurried walk with long strides, buttocks clenched, that is reminiscent of the horses' gait in harness racing aka the trots.

Trouble and strife: Wife, hugs & kisses (missus).

Trough lolly: Disinfectant lozenge placed in urinals.

Trousered the public coin: Paid out of our taxes.

Truckie's tan: A sunburnt right arm.

Tuck shop: School canteen.

Tuck shop ladies' arms: Flubbeters; those loose, fleshy folds on the upper arms of the mothers who commonly volunteer at the tuckshop.

Tucker: Sustenance in a solid format.

Turps: Alcohol.

Two bob watch (as useful as): Unreliable, dodgy, shonky.

Two-pot screamer: A low threshold tolerance of turps.

Two-up: Traditional gambling game involving two pennies tossed from a kip. Also - double-dinking on a bicycle or motorcycle.

Uggies: Ugg boots. Uggers: Ugly.

Ugly as a hat full of arseholes: e.g. Tony Abbott.

Unco. Uncoordinated, clumsy.

Underground mutton: Rabbit.

Up and down like a bride's nightie: A dynamic state of affairs.

Wallaby track: Where swaggies venture looking for work.

Warrigal: A native dog, a dingo.

Werribee duck: "In more shit than a Werribee duck" big trouble. From the ducks in Werribee, Victoria that favour the local sewage treatment ponds as a habitat.

Whacko, Whacko the diddle-O: You beaut, good one.

Whinge: Complain.

White pointers: Uncovered, untanned, perky funbags.

Who's fucking this cat? Shut up and leave me to it.

William (the): The bill, account, invoice.

Windbag: Earbasher, overly loquacious individual, someone who yabbers incessantly, typically a politician.

Wobbly boot: Tie on the wobbly boot - get as full as a chook. To take it a step further (no pun intended) you would be legless - a progression from from wobblyness to immobility.

Wombat: Eats, roots and leaves.

Wonky: Not fully functional (inanimate objects). Feeling a bit crook (animate objects).

Woofy: Has a bit of a pong. Alternatively: Iffy, dodgy.

Woop Woop: Beyond the black stump where the crows fly backwards.

Wouldn't be dead for quids: I'm feeling quite chipper, thank you.

Wowser: A censorious, self-righteous do-gooder, a wet blanket.

Wrap your laughing gear 'round that: Eat up!

Yabby: Freshwater crayfish. Similar to marron from WA.

Yakka/Hard yakka: Onerous work.

Yank tank: Overly large American automobile.

Yeah, nah, yeah: Yeah.

Yob/yobbo: A bogan.

Yonks: Ages - "Where've you been, haven't seen ya for yonks."

You beaut: Top of the line. e.g. you beaut ute - flash utility vehicle.

Youse: Plural of you.

Zak: Sixpence (5 cents).

Zed car: A Commonwealth government vehicle that's rego number starts with a Z.


Every so often, through the fog of inane pollie waffle a gem of linguistic creativity emerges to be added to our national lexicon and archived for posterity. Here are some samples.

Paul Keating, the bovver boy from Bankstown:

  • All tip and no iceberg - on Peter Costello

  • A shiver looking for a spine - on John Howard

  • Couldn't raffle a duck in a pub - on the LNP

  • The cherry on the compost heap - on Malcolm Turnbull

  • Like being flogged with a warm lettuce - about John Hewson

  • Painted, perfumed gigolo - on Andrew Peacock

Gough Whitlam

"I remember" - in response to Sir Winton Turnbull shouting "I am a Country member."

Gareth Evans to Bob Hawke

"Pull out, digger. The dogs are pissing on your swag."

Joh Bjelke-Peterson, despotic bumpkin

"Feeding the chooks". Describing his own press conferences

Some mythical names are frequently invoked by our more right wing pollies to stoke fear and misgivings and encourage the endorsement of their big brother ideologies: Laura Norder, Warren Terra, Terry Wrist.

Oz Pronunciation

From Let Stalk Strine by Afferbeck Lauder

If you can work out these examples from the book then you have an ear for Strine. I laughed so much I peed a little.

The festive occasion of 31st December. Each year, at midnight, Strines throughout the land perform the ceremony of joining hands with strangers and chanting 'Shoulder Quaint's Beef Cot' (also know as `Frolang Zine').

Egg Nishner: A mechanical device for cooling and purifying the air of a room.

Eye-level Arch: The Strine method of ordering a meal in a restaurant. As in: `Eye-level arch play devoisters Anna piner martyr sauce an tea', or `Eye-level arch ching chair min an some Swissair pork.'

Furry Tiles: Sick humour for kiddies. These are stories which begin with the words, `One spawner time...' and then describe in graphic and revolting detail various acts of murder, mayhem and treachery

Garment: An invitation to visit. As in: `Garment seamy anile seward icon do.'

I Marfter: I am about to leave. As in: `Well, I marfter tan now. I'll gedgeter turn the oven on at Harps four'

Inner Narkup Luddaze: A builder's term, meaning: within the next seven or eight weeks. An elaboration of this phrase, `Air smite, inner narkup luddaze for sure', means, in the building trade, within the next seven or eight weeks.

Jess Tefter; Lefter: It is necessay to. As in: `She'll jess tefter get chews twit', or `You lefter filner form.'

Numb Butter; Jessa (Synonyms): Only. As in: `They're numb butter buncher drongoes', or `He's jessa no-hoper.'

Rep Bairg: An irresponsible person. See also Dare Debts. Retrine: Making an effort. As in: How to speak Strine without retrine.

Rise Up Lides: Sharpened steel wafers, now usually stineless, used for shiving.

Sag Rapes: Anything which one wants but is unable to reach.

Sander's Lape: In a state of suspended animation. As in: `Doan mica noise, Norm, the kiddies are Sander's lape.'

Semmitch: Two slices of bread with a filling in between, e.g. M-semmitch; semmon semmitch; chee semmitch. When ordering semmitches the following responses are indicated: A: Sell semmitches? B: Air, emeny jiwant? A: Gimmie utter martyr and an airman pickle. Emma chisit? (or Emma charthay?) B: Toon nimepen slidy. (or Threem form smite. A man is always expected to pay more for food than a woman is.)

Sly Drool: An instrument used by engineers for discovering Kew brutes and for making other calculations.

Tan Cancel: The elected local government authority.

Tea Nature: Adolescent

Term Night Sear: Terminates here.

Terror Souse: One of a number of conjoined double or triple-storeyed dwellings found in the older parts of some capital cities

Would never: Do not have. As in: `You would never light wood-germite?' or `Ar would never glue.'

X: The twenty-fourth letter of the Strine alphabet; also plural of egg; also a tool for chopping wood.

I dips me lid also to those colonial colloquialists -

Barry Humphries

Kath and Kim - Jane Turner and Gina Riley

Aussie movies:


The Castle

The Dish

Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson and CJ Dennis

Other readings:


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